Last words

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By Nick Faris
Editor in Chief

There used to be a field next to Leonard Hall.

It’s a forgotten patch of grass, maimed and stripped, soon to be replaced by Queen’s newest residence buildings. But it was there three years ago.

It was there — lobbing a football with friends one evening — that I got the phone call that forged my university experience.

The Journal first brought me aboard as a fundamentally clueless first-year, and I’ve been unsure of myself countless times ever since. Uncertain whether I asked the right questions in interviews, or committed enough to my studies.

I’ve been unnerved on many marathon press nights, mired in a sleepless stupor, wondering whether the warped addiction I’d developed for this place was really worth it.

The questions kept me going. From the day I was first hired, I wanted to ask and listen, to learn more and share what I knew. I wanted to type words until they wove into a story.

That desire hasn’t waned — and as the ink on this page dries, neither have the questions. They’re the essence of everything our newspaper does.

This year, we told stories of a deficient sexual assault policy; of students confronting cancer, racism and mental illness; of an athletic department seeking vengeance against aspiring journalists. Whether the words were printed digitally or on paper, the pursuit remained the same: clarify something uncertain, or reveal something unknown.

To find answers, we needed the right people to dig for them.

The faces atop this page fit the bill. They’re a beleaguered band of misfits, drawn to The Journal by a particular itch: to fill an intellectual or creative void, or to craft a sentence never written before.

Publishing an entirely student-run newspaper is a small miracle — one made possible by our staff’s unwavering dedication to the stories they cover. Their words and brains and hearts and guts make this place what it is.

I owe my time here to them, and to several other amazing people.

Vince, my co-editor: your dedication to journalism has inspired me since the day we met. I think we did alright.

Katherine and Labiba: your phone call changed everything. Alison and Janina: your guidance meant everything. You believed in me, and I hope I made you proud.

Peter and Sean: you were the best partners I could have asked for. Terence and Hadwen: you motivated and encouraged in tough times. Plugging away with all of you was an unconditional blast.

Our business manager’s hustle and ingenuity kept us afloat. David: you’re a champ on and off the field.

Rachel, The Journal’s first student administrator: I’m awed by your ability to stifle every challenge you face. You’ve also been an incredible friend.

My friends outside of here cared — and didn’t care — in the absolute best way possible. Above all, I’m thankful for my family’s love and support.

The Journal has survived on caffeine and unrelenting passion for 142 years. Our readers are another constant. Thanks for keeping us honest.

And to Sebastian and Anisa: the 143rd is all yours. Your hunger and grace will lead the way to newfound heights — and some things will stay exactly the same.

You and your staff will produce some of Canada’s finest campus journalism. You’ll agonize and laugh and do it all again the next day. You’ll question yourselves. You’ll be a group of students doing what you love, the very best that you can.

And at the end, you’ll think of the beginning: of a patch of grass, and a football piercing the springtime air. Of a story and the people who wrote it.

Nick can finally move forward.

By Vincent Ben Matak
Editor in Chief

Blood, sweat and tears.

I’ve spilt all three in various places around the Journal house over the past four years. I bled when a 70-year-old typewriter fell on my face, sweated in panic when stories fell through at the last minute and shed the odd tear when it all seemed too much.

But I kept coming back for more. I’m not the only one who did.

The Journal has a unique responsibility on campus. We report on information that directly impacts our daily life at Queen’s.

We bring attention to various problems at the University so that they can be made known to the wider public.

But we also highlight other aspects of our campus culture that make it what it is — a tight-knit atmosphere where people can learn to thrive.

People often view us as a horde of controversy-hungry, self-serving writers, in it just for the sake of a good stink. But we’re far from that. We’re a troop of relentless truth-seekers.

This commitment to the truth is grounded in its ability to affect change. We give our student body the tools necessary to make this place better.

This is our mission and we do it with zeal, often shoving everything else in our lives under the rug.

It’s what brought me into this place as a shy, self-conscious first-year, and it’s what has kept me going to this day.

And it’s what will keep this place going for years to come.

The Journal is a place where wide-eyed students undergo metamorphoses into inquisitive, resourceful, strong-minded journalists.

Under the collective wing of a fleet of equally talented and dedicated editors, we cultivate their skills, so that the tradition of this commitment lives on.

Sometimes change is needed. This year, we dissolved the twice-weekly publication of our issues, opting instead to release digital content daily on top of a weekly print issue.

We deepened our coverage of certain topics through major digital projects. We introduced a new section — Lifestyle — to better represent student life.

A new website will also be unveiled by the end of April.

Every one of these decisions was made with you — our readers — in mind.

When I look back at my time at 190 University Ave., I won’t remember the blood, sweat or tears I spilt.

I’ll remember who I used to be and who I’ve become — a dramatic change I owe to the people who took it upon themselves to guide me through my journey.

Nick, my co-editor: you’re one of the most talented and hard-working people I’ve ever met. I know this will take you far. You’ve made me better.

To my housemate, Sarah: thank you for helping me stay sane through all of this.

Jake and Clare: you planted the Journal seed in me, and encouraged me to let it grow. I’m glad I did.

Katherine: I owe where I am today mostly to you. You believed in me when I needed to be believed in. You brought me in and made sure I stayed. Thank you.

Labiba: your advice has always been paramount. You’re my go-to when I need a reality check. It’s kept me on the right path.

Alison and Janina: you bravely redirected The Journal to where it needed to go. You helped me realize what I needed to do to see it on its way.

Anisa and Sebastian: it’s your time to shine, and I know you will. Be strong, and believe in yourselves. I know I do.

To the rest of our staff: You’ve made this year what it is. I’ll miss all of you.

To The Journal: Farewell, once and for all.

Vincent is ready to take a breath.

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